There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these flesh eating monsters.
Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.
Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. While the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won't lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.
Barbra and Johnny visit their father's grave in a remote cemetery when they are suddenly set upon by zombies. Barbra manages to get away and takes refuge in what seems to be an abandoned farm house. She is soon joined by Ben who stopped at the house in need of gas. Beset by the walking dead all around them Ben does his best to secure the doors and windows. The news reports are grim however with creatures returning to life everywhere. Barbra and Ben are surprised when they realize there are 5 people hiding out in the basement: Harry, Helen and Judy Cooper; and a young couple, Tom and Judy. Dissensions sets in almost immediately with Harry Cooper wanting to be in charge. As their situation deteriorates, their chances of surviving the night lessen minute by minute. Written by
The character of Ben was originally written as an angry person. When Duane Jones was given the role, he expressed concern that the character be rewritten to remove some of the anger - such as the scene where Ben hits Barbara - afraid of how it would be widely perceived in the United States at the time to see a black man acting in this way. The nation was still plagued with high racial tensions during the late sixties; the film was released to theaters shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King. Nonetheless, George A. Romero and most of the rest of the predominantly white crew decided against it, thinking they were being "hip" by not changing it. Years later, Romero lamented that he had not taken Jones' concerns more into consideration, and thought that he was probably correct. He's expressed that he wished he could speak with the late Jones again, asking him how he felt about the film's legendary status, and believes Jones would just say "Who knew?" and laugh. See more »
Ben's truck, when he first appears, is an early to mid-'60s GMC pickup. When the truck is seen later, it has changed to an older, early-'50s Chevrolet Advance-Design pickup. See more »
They ought to make the day the time changes the first day of summer.
Well it's eight o' clock and it's still light.
A lot of god the extra daylight does us, you know we've still got a three hour drive back, we're not going to be home until after midnight.
Well, if it really bugged you, Johnny, you wouldn't do it.
You think I wanna blow Sunday on a scene like this? You know, I figure we're either going to have to move mother out here or move the grave to Pittsburgh.
Well she ...
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The credits play over still frames of the hunters dragging Ben out of the house with meat hooks. After the credits, there's a short scene of the hunters setting a pile of zombies on fire. See more »
A car drives up a road, towards a graveyard. Cut to the graveyard, a woman and her brother have brought flowers to their mother's grave. Soon the brother starts taunting his sister, saying: "They're coming to get you, Barbara". Barbara laughs it off and after her brother runs away, she heads to the seemingly innocent man visiting a family member's grave to apologize, and out of nowhere he grabs her. Her brother attempts to fight him off but ends up being killed in the process and Barbara escapes to a farmhouse nearby.
That's how this incredible, highly influential masterclass in horror film making begins. What is still so fascinating about this film is that it retains its ability to genuinely, truly scare the crap out of you. It's not just a 'jump moment' film, George A. Romero sets the mood perfectly with a sublime script and truly effective use of music. As far as modern low budget horror films go, this is nearly the best of them, surpassed only by Sam Raimi's masterpiece "The Evil Dead".
"Night of the Living Dead" isn't scary because of the zombies (although the flesh eating sequences are still among the greatest and most horrifying horror scenes ever made). The film is still effective because it all has a feeling of impending doom. It seems hopeless, disturbing, terrifying because of the claustrophobic mood it sets. It's not the zombies that scare us, it's the idea of being trapped in a small area with nowhere to go and death itself standing right outside your door. What a brilliant film!
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